Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Review: Kreons

Everyone likes to copy everyone else in the toy manufacturing game. The current 'craze' is not-Lego, i.e. bricks which look remarkably like Lego but which are made by someone else. In the case of Kre-O, the Transformers not-Lego, the 'someone else' is unsurprisingly Hasbro.

But this review isn't about Kre-O. Or rather it is, but just about the little minifigures that come with they set. Hasbro has named these critters 'Kreons'.

Kreons fall into two types: interesting ones and boring ones. The interesting ones are based on Transformers - specifically those Transformers that were created in the 80s (aka 'Generation 1'). The boring ones are of random humans and other than fitting more easily in the Kre-O vehicles, no kid is really going to want them.

Harsh, but true.

"All I want to say is that they don't really care about us."
The figures are about the same size as ordinary Lego minifigs, though their proportions are slightly different. They have the same size hands so any accessories that can be held by one type can be held by the other. The major difference is in the articulation.

Lego minifigs can only move their arms and legs forwards and back.
Kreon limbs are on ball-joints so can move in any and all directions.

On the face of it, this sounds like a major Plus for Kreons. And if you're posing your posing your figures standing, shooting, it is. There is a problem, however, and it comes about when trying to sit them down. With a minifig you bent the legs and push man into chair. With Kreons, because of the added articulation, the legs are much harder to get into the exact position needed - especially when you're reaching through the roof of a car, or through a small door.

The other issue I've found is one of quality. I've tried only a few of the available Kre-O sets, but I've had a number of problem Kreons. Megatron's leg has split at the joint and therefore falls off very easily. Jazz's leg is similarly broken. Mirage's wrist is split and so his hand keeps falling out. A whole bunch have very wobbly legs.

These breakages haven't come about from rough play. These have resulted from me gently fiddling about with them before the children have even got their hands on them. This isn't good. One fault I'd have forgiven, but they seem to be cropping up with alarming regularity.

That said, I do like the Kreons. I like the fact that Hasbro went the G1 route instead of the monstrous Bayformers things. And they all look so gosh-darn cute. I just wish... Well, I wish I could hand these over to my children (you know, the target audience for these toys) without fear of them all coming back broken. It's not like I could easily get replacements either, since the only way to get specific characters is through buying specific sets.

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